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Harry Stine takes off the gloves regarding dicamba

Stine says dicamba has damaged U.S. agriculture more than anything in his lifetime.

Harry Stine is weighing in on off-target dicamba movement that has occurred in soybeans this month.  

“In my opinion, dicamba has caused more damage to American agriculture than anything I have witnessed in my lifetime.  (And I am old :)),” writes the founder of the Stine Seed Company, Adel, Iowa, in an e-mail. “I told Robb Fraley (retired chief technology officer) of Monsanto (bought by Bayer in 2018) this in the late summer of 2017. The vast majority of dicamba damage goes unreported as farmers do not want to upset their neighbors and they have learned that reporting dicamba damage accomplishes absolutely nothing.”

Stine says dicamba volatilization and drift has damaged hundreds of thousands of Stine research plots (Stine Seed Company plants over a million plots each year) once again for the fifth year in a row. This coincides with the 2017 Environmental Protection Agency approval of matching herbicides for the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Crop System that includes dicamba-tolerant soybeans. The approved herbicides included XtendiMax (Bayer) and Engenia (BASF).

“The volatized dicamba drift equally damages our conventional soybeans, our GT 27 soybeans (tolerance to glyphosate and isoxaflutole in Alite 27 herbicide), our (Enlist) E3 soybeans (tolerance to glufosinate, glyphosate, and 2,4-D choline), our LibertyLink soybeans (tolerance to glufosinate) and our LLGT27 soybeans (tolerance to glufosinate, Alite 27, and glyphosate),” writes Stine.

Cupped soybeans.
Cupped soybeans. Photo courtesy of Stine Seed Company.

“This dispels the FALSE stories that dicamba mostly affects one trait. (Obviously, traits planted on more acreage have more damage reports.),” he writes. “Our extensive program developing Bayer’s Xtend (tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate) and XtendFlex (tolerance to dicamba, glyphosate, and glufosinate) soybean lines (with the same basic genetic base) at these same locations have no damage at all. This dispels the FALSE stories that environmental conditions are causing the damage. Almost all companies (including Bayer/Monsanto and BASF) and universities with soybean research programs have experienced damage from volatized dicamba drift.

 “The dicamba damage frequently does not show up for approximately two weeks after volatilization and moves long distances in every direction from the point of application,” he writes. “Therefore, it is often difficult to determine if the drift is coming from a dicamba application to corn, cotton, or soybeans.”

Damage in Iowa

Stine’s assessment concurs with what several Iowa State University (ISU) field agronomists observed earlier mid-July in Iowa. 

“Cupping of several trifoliates is common on about 40% of the soybean acres, creating lots of discussion and concern. I have been in organic, conventional, Liberty tolerant, Roundup Ready, and Enlist (E3) fields with this problem over the past three weeks,” writes Joel DeJong, an ISU field agronomist based in northwestern Iowa. 

“Soybeans are at the R1 to R2 growth stage. Off-target movement of herbicides into soybean fields have been most of the incoming phone calls and field visits this past week,” writes Gentry Sorenson, an ISU field agronomist based in northwestern Iowa. 

“Soybeans have made great progress with the additional rainfall and warm temperatures; most POST herbicide applications have been applied. Drift calls continue to come in concerning dicamba movement,” writes Aaron Saeugling, an ISU field agronomist. 

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